Politics as Usual – Sadly
My life as a Republican was altered forever on the day the United States Senate attempted to circumvent the ruling of the state of Florida regarding Terry Schiavo. Bill Frist, a Tennessee senator, and cardio-thoracic surgeon said that, in his opinion from viewing a four year old videotape, there were signs of life in Terry, in spite of multiple court rulings that she was in a persistent vegetative state.
As a nurse, I know he would never have done that in his physician role. It was a blatant example of politics for personal gain.
Since then, I, a socially moderate, conservative Republican, often say: “The only people I hate more than Democrats are Republicans.” That’s because Republicans are supposed to know the right principles.
Now we have the presidential elections to remind us daily of the self-serving manipulations of politics. We have Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, promising universal health care and an end to the Iraq war, a new version of the old “chicken in every pot” promise. A close read of today’s newspapers reveals that neither has any intention of immediately ending the war, which is presently winding down, after a fairly successful surge.
Too bad their speeches don’t reflect this.
They’re also going to give us universal health care, better education for everyone, and compassion for illegal immigrants along with Spanish as our second national language.
I can hardly wait to see how all this will be managed, how we’re going to unravel the complexities of our medical system to provide fair coverage for all without compromising our, in America, sacred right to self determination.
I can hardly wait to live in a bi-cultural society, a place where government officials and illegal immigrants get to do what I can’t – violate laws without consequences. Last time I checked, I had to pay my parking tickets and can hardly get any free stuff. Last time I looked, the United States were supposed to be united, a place where immigrants blend in. We fought a war over union. What happened?
As for education, when I was in first grade in an old parochial school, there were 73 kids in my class, and little room for self expression. We had to stand in line. We had to practice our writing and reading and numbers until we could write well in cursive, and add and subtract.
We had to wear uniforms, and no patent leather, not to mention sneakers that cost two days wages. I learned a lot there from the formidable Sister Agnes Marie, one of the scariest people I ever met. When she said to jump, I jumped. I may be warped, but not from that.
When I was in nursing school, an attempt was made to help the poor blend into society better. The idea was that people would no longer go to clinics, or line up for free food. They would get free cab rides to private physician’s offices, and food stamps, so they could buy food in the same way that others did. Then they would feel like middle class people, and learn to act like them.
I guess you can imagine the poor, pregnant ghetto girl fidgeting in the Chippendale wing chair in the waiting room of the doctor’s office where I worked, not to mention how much appropriate education she received there.
There was a story in our local paper recently bemoaning both a decrease in infant health in Maryland and the impending loss of a government program that provides a monthly nurse-home-visit to healthy, young, uninsured, low income women throughout their pregnancies and their infants’ early months. I wish I could have had that when I was an insured 19-year-old new mom. I would have been willing to ride a bus to classes to learn more about child care! One nurse would have been enough for me and a hundred others.
I believe strongly that, in our rich, civilized society, we are obligated to provide sustenance and basic services to the needy. That means cost-effective, sensible, targeted services.
Beyond that, a good government in a free country should provide a framework of safety in which people make their own choices, build their own, unique lives and take their own consequences.
This includes national defense, universal standards of safety for infrastructure, food, drugs and other products, legal protection from predation by criminals, both blue and white collar, fire and safety services, national education standards, etc.
Politicians say, “If you elect me, I’m going to give you more stuff.” But, even if they really can give it, that stuff comes at great cost. Not only do we pay for it in taxes, we abdicate our freedom to choose what we want to get. I’ve never understood why voters buy into that.
In fact, we are sick of it and of the unprincipled behavior of our leadership.
Thus have we fallen in love with Barack Obama. He rode up on his big, gleaming horse with a lot going for him. He’s tall, handsome, bright, young, articulate, focused, accomplished, and he’s calling for what so many of us really want: Change!
I like to think he’s the good man that he appears to be, and that his brightness will compensate for his lack of experience in some areas of government.
I’ll tell you, though. I’m glad Hillary Clinton slowed his momentum by capturing the popular vote in Texas and Ohio. Hopefully, it will give us a moment to stop swaying to the music and waving our panties in the air long enough to figure out what Mr. Obama really means to do, and what real capacity for effective change he has.
We have three choices for president now. It’s time to take a serious look at all of them, and of how we can influence our own futures. If we don’t, as usual, someone else will.